Oldsmobile Firenza Reviews from North America

1986 Oldsmobile Firenza 4 door sedan 2.0 FI

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 2.0 FI Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.3 / 10
Distance when acquired150000 miles
Most recent distance175000 miles
Previous carMercury Grand Marquis

Summary:

One of the best cars I've had

Faults:

1986 Olds Firenza 4-door sedan.

Mileage is approximate. It had at least 150k on it when I bought it, and I put at least 25-30k miles on it in about 1-1/2 years of ownership.

Light tapping sound from engine at idle (didn't affect performance, and never got worse, even under heavy abuse).

Passenger side CV joint made slight noise while driving (didn't click around corners however like my previous import models). The seller warned me the CV joint needed replacement, but I kept putting it off since it wasn't too loud.

Replaced the factory Delco AM/FM tuner with a later model Delco with cassette deck from a junkyard, so I could play my CDs with a tape adapter & Discman. It was difficult to get it back in the dash the right way, so it sat kinda cockeyed in there.

The CV joint eventually failed, leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere. It was inconvenient, but totally my fault for ignoring the problem when I knew better.

General Comments:

It was very bare-bones... no power anything and didn't even have a factory tape deck. I picked it up at the age of 19 for $100 from the second owners (a friend's parents). I wasn't looking for a second car, but the offer came my way, my Grand Marquis was a gas hog, and I figured it'd save the Grand Marquis some wear and tear. I had little expectations out of the Firenza from the beginning, but its durability surprised the hell out of me.

It looked like a bucket (no hubcaps, ugly 80's styling). But the blue paint still had a decent shine to it, there was really no rust to speak of, and the interior was in great shape considering how old the car was. I liked the vinyl on the front doors with "Firenza" across it. I sorta ridiculed the Firenza for not being a "real" Oldsmobile (aka full-sized with a V-8), but at the end of the day it was a great car.

The Firenza is a clone of the Chevy Cavalier from that time period. I've owned an '86 Cavalier also, which was equally reliable, even after being T-boned by a full-size Chevy Tahoe... I should've been injured in that accident, but wasn't, owing to these cars' surprising build quality (all steel). These things are little tanks.

I was very irresponsible at that age, and hung out with equally irresponsible people. My hooligan friends and I drove the Firenza basically 24/7, oftentimes in various states of impairment (shame on me) and showed the car no mercy. Never changed the oil, revved it way higher than I should've, tried to race much faster cars, ignored the CV joint problem, and basically beat on it til it broke. It handled great in the winter, and was awesome on gas compared to the 302 in my other car, even when I had 4 other people crammed in it.

The car broke down in a very rural area. I got lost and went to turn around in someone's driveway, and the car made a loud CRUNCH when putting it from drive to reverse, and wouldn't move after that. I knew immediately what the problem was, and I'm surprised it didn't happen much sooner. I couldn't afford a tow, and since the car was stuck on some random old peoples' property (they were pretty cool about the whole thing), I just gave them the title and was done with it.

I have fond memories in this car and a few regrets (made some poor choices in those days), and wish I still had the thing, since it was a hell of a car and the 80's are making a comeback. The Firenza was never a "cool" car, but nowadays I think it kinda would be. If another Firenza came my way at a decent price, I'd jump on it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th October, 2013

17th Oct 2013, 22:14

"the 80's are making a comeback."

- I sure hope not. 1980s cars were really bad for the most part.

18th Oct 2013, 08:55

Fullsize and midsize GM and Fords from the 80's were good cars.

23rd Oct 2013, 13:01

My '89 Chevy Celebrity was more reliable than my 2002 Honda Accord has been...

1982 Oldsmobile Firenza 3 door hatchback 1.8L

Model year1982
Year of manufacture1982
First year of ownership1990
Most recent year of ownership1992
Engine and transmission 1.8L Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.3 / 10
Distance when acquired60000 miles
Most recent distance96000 miles

Summary:

It was a disappointment and a white elephant

Faults:

In two 1/2 years of ownership and putting only 36000 miles on it, I had to replace the following:

Two complete sets (4 wheels) of brake pads

Two complete sets (4 wheels) of rotors

2 complete sets (4 wheels) of brake calipers

3 sets of hatchback door hydraulic lifters

2 main computers (the brains of the beast) and innumerable other electronic sensors that filed and left me sitting along the road.

I put 2 sets of tires on it because it would not stay in alignment.

When I traded it in for a Mazda (no more GM), it was ready for a 3rd set of brake pads, rotors and calipers and the tires were a mess. I got it aligned every 6 months and tried several different shops.

The main computer blew and left me sit along the side of the road twice. I was a stay at home mom and this was supposed to be the car we kept for LONG trips because it was so comfortable and rode nicely -- but we could never trust it -- it died too often. It turned me against GM.

General Comments:

It was fun to drive and the upholstery was fabulous. Mechanically it was a disaster. I did not drive this car everyday -- it was the grocery getter and the Sunday church car. We took it on long trips and always spent part of the trip in a garage after being towed when some electronic sensor or another died. It was the low point of GM technology.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th February, 2009

Average review marks: 7.1 / 10, based on 13 reviews